A River Runs Through It

Something one really has a passion doing he often sees the entirety of human existence in it. Many chess grandmasters, for instance, have written their auto-biographies with titles like 'Chess is Life' or 'How Chess Imitates Life' or some such. Golfers, basketball players or martial arts practitioners (like Bruce Lee) see patterns, principles and lessons in the sports they indulge in which they claim teach us about life in general and how to properly live it. And so is it here: fly fishing in th Something one really has a passion doing he often sees the entirety of human existence in it. Many chess grandmasters, for instance, have written their auto-biographies with titles like 'Chess is Life' or 'How Chess Imitates Life' or some such. Golfers, basketball players or martial arts practitioners (like Bruce Lee) see patterns, principles and lessons in the sports they indulge in which they claim teach us about life in general and how to properly live it. And so is it here: fly fishing in the great rivers of Montana. The reader, in fact, gets a broad hint of this right at its opening sentence which goes:"In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing."The reader who casts his eyes through it may get the feeling (like I did) that sometimes the author is stretching the analogy a little bit too far already, very close to likening God himself to a river fish (he didn't say that) and often may roll his eyes, in an amused disbelief, that the author could, for instance, suggest that fishermen like him are better at grasping eternity than anyone else--"The body and spirit suffer no more sudden visitation than that of losing a big fish, since, after all, there must be some slight transition between life and death. But, with a big fish, one moment the world is nuclear and the next it has disappeared....Poets talk about 'spots of time,' but it is really fishermen who experience eternity compressed into a moment. No one can tell what a spot of time

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is until suddenly the whole world is a fish and the fish is gone. I shall remember that son of a bitch forever."In any case, even if you disregard the fact that the story follows the rote formula of getting an old man (or woman, as in the movie Titanic) to narrate about his recollection of the past, his reminiscences about his loved ones who had died (especially those who perished in the prime of their lives), and his own personal what-could-have-beens, I'd say this probably has one of the most poignant endings in the whole of literature, whether fiction or non-fiction--"Now nearly all those I loved and did not understand when I was young are dead, but still I reach out to them."Of course, now I am too old to be much of a fisherman, and now of course I usually fish the big waters alone, although some friends think I shouldn't. Like many fly fishermen in western Montana where the summer days are almost Arctic in length, I often do not start fishing until the cool of the evening. Then in the Arctic half-light of the canyon, all existence fades to a being with my soul and memories and the sounds of the Big Blackfoot River and a four-count rhythm and the hope that a big fish will rise."Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs."I am haunted by waters."

I am not, however, haunted by waters. I live in the city and its remaining rivers are shallow, polluted and without any fish. But we have great malls, and more are being built! So if I were to write a story like this, I'll end it with something like: "Eventually, all our childhood playgrounds merge into one, and a mall is built on it. ...I am haunted by fastfoods."

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Category: Review

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